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Crews contain Dallas Canyon blaze; fire danger still high

Published August 4, 2012 7:48 am

Flash flooding • Site of Seeley Fire hit by heavy rains, closures in effect.
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Crews have reached full containment of the last of Utah's existing major wildfires, even as they braced for the return of increased danger of new blazes breaking out this weekend.

Fire information officer Cami Lee said the 43,610-acre Dallas Canyon Fire reached full containment by late Friday afternoon. The fire is estimated to be fully controlled — meaning no hot spots inside the containment line — by Aug. 5.

The flames had been burning in grass, brush and pinyon in the Cedar Mountain Wilderness Area since lightning ignited the blaze on July 27.

Along with closing remaining gaps in the fire lines, crews on Friday — aided by bulldozers and water-bearing helicopters — were beginning environmental rehabilitation. Firefighters also kept watch for any hot spots or new flare-ups.

Another lightning-caused blaze: the 410-acre North Hills Wildfire burning two miles northwest of the Washington County town of Enterprise reached full containment Friday night.

Firefighters quickly contained a three-acre fire that broke out above Silver Lake near the Granite Flat area in American Fork Canyon late Friday morning, and the campground was briefly evacuated as a precaution.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jason Curry said no injuries or property damage were reported.

The fire was human-caused and an origin was found, but investigators couldn't pinpoint exactly what started it.

The road to Granite Flat campground and Silver Lake was closed Friday afternoon, but all areas are now open.

Meantime, the combination of mountain slopes recently denuded by the flames of the 48,038-acre Seeley Wildfire and heavy rains late Wednesday resulted in flooding and debris flows that forced the Emery County Sheriff's Office to close portions of Huntington Canyon. State Road 31 was hit particularly hard, with closures of the road from Rilda Canyon to Electric Lake in effect until the middle of next week.

Also closed due to flooding was the Bear Creek Campground. That closure was expected to last the remainder of the camping season, county officials said.

A "Red Flag" wildfire danger warning issued by the National Weather Service was allowed to expire late Friday night. Still authorities worried about the tinder-dry vegetation in the advisory area running west and east of the Wasatch Mountain Range from Logan running south through Weber, Salt Lake and Utah counties to Nephi, aas well as a swath of land extending into the northeastern Utah's Uinta Mountains.

The region's weekend forecast was for the return of hot, dry and windy weather along the affected areas.

remims@sltrib.com

Fire restrictions lifted

Fire restrictions on national forests in Utah were to be lifted at midnight Friday. Fire restrictions on all other federal, state and unincorporated lands in Utah remained in effect. The fire restrictions have been in effect on all public lands in the state of Utah since June 14 due to extreme fire danger. In past weeks, higher elevation National Forests have experienced rain and higher relative humidity, reducing the flammability of wildland vegetation.